Bahamas tax-free residency threshold set to increase - insight on what the increase represents to buyers looking for tax-free living by David Lambert of Palm Cay, Bahamas

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The debate around raising the purchase threshold for permanent residency in the Bahamas continues, as the Government is being urged to explain what the proposed increase from $500,000 to $1m actually represents. Bahamas real estate expert David Lambert explains.

One Marina Palm Cay

The beauty of owning a property at Palm Cay is that it offers entry to Bahamian living, with the associated tax advantages, at a price which is only marginally above the current threshold.

There is still some uncertainty as to whether the proposed increase in the purchase threshold of property, from $500,000 to $1m, is actually an increase or a decrease, but one thing is certain: now is the time to buy Bahamian property to secure residency.

The Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) is reportedly calling on the government to clarify whether the new $1 million investment threshold represents an increase or decrease from the previous benchmark.

According to a recent press report from island newspaper, The Tribune, the Association claims that in April 2011, former prime minister, Hubert Ingraham, revealed changes to the Bahamas’ National Investment Policy. These changes would allow foreign residents to “seek accelerated consideration of permanent resident status” on purchases ‘over $1.5 million’ – triple the current limit of $500,000.

The current cabinet has given permission to ‘double’ the threshold from its current $500,000 to $1 million – so has the limit gone up or down?

So, while the ‘powers that be’ try and sort out that particular conundrum, it is important to focus on the fact that the imminent shift in the threshold means that anyone seeking to buy a property in order to secure permanent residency should move fast.

Until it is formally contested, the $500,000 threshold stands, and anyone purchasing a property over this value in the Bahamas will automatically be able to apply for fast track residency status, with the many lifestyle benefits and tax advantages that brings.

Commenting on the decision David Lambert, UK-based International Sales and Marketing Manager at Palm Cay, said: “The threshold is in place to ensure these beautiful islands continue to attract high net worth individuals and to support the country’s real estate market. The beauty of owning a property at Palm Cay is that it offers entry to Bahamian living, with the associated tax advantages, at a price which is only marginally above the current threshold.

“We have seen a huge amount of interest from both private individuals and investors looking to buy real estate in what is the premier location on the island. We launched our high-end condominium development, One Marina, in December and sold four properties off plan on the opening night. Our newly announced range of luxury waterside condominiums and penthouse apartments at One Marina will meet the criteria should the tax-free residency threshold increase.”

He continues: “It is clear that interest in the real estate market remains strong, and we are continuing to attract a high calibre clientele to Palm Cay who want to enjoy a luxury tax-free lifestyle in the Caribbean.”

The Cabinet has also agreed to the introduction of a tax residency certificate for individuals and corporations with the qualifying criteria being a minimum stay of 90 days in the Bahamas.

For more information about life at Palm Cay visit http://www.palmcay.com.

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Clare Coyne

Clare Coyne
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